David Dye

David Dye is a longtime Philadelphia radio personality whose music enthusiasm has captivated listeners of World Cafe® since 1991. World Cafeis produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania.

Dye launched his distinguished broadcasting career as host of a progressive music show on WMMR 93.3 FM, a pioneering progressive rock station in Philadelphia. During his four-year tenure, Dye won accolades for his taste and laid back presentation. After a five-year stint programming radio stations in Maine, he returned to Philadelphia where he gained public radio experience at WHYY before being recruited in 1981 by alternative rock station WIOQ 102.1 FM where he made his mark on the music scene for nearly a decade.

In 1989, Dye took his musical quest to WXPN where he hosted the station's Sleepy Hollow radio program. Two years later, Dye was asked to spearhead research on the viability of a new public radio program. The research revealed an audience need for a new kind of musical format - one that was intelligent, diverse and would give musical guests a showcase for their artistic expression. Based on the findings, Dye went to work to create a unique program of musical discovery where listeners would be introduced to an eclectic blend of contemporary sounds from legendary and up-and-coming artists. World Cafewas born.

Since launching World Cafein 1991, Dye has served as the host of this nationally acclaimed show, now syndicated on more than 250 public radio stations across the United States. Every week, Dye brings out the best in interviews with internationally known artists such as Yo-Yo Ma and Joni Mitchell. He has conducted nearly 4,500 interviews during his 20 years with the program. He introduces a half-million listeners each week to newcomers like Vampire Weekend, Mumford & Sons, PJ Harvey, Sheryl Crow, Beck, LCD Soundsystem and Amos Lee.

World Cafe and Dye have received numerous awards including: two NFCB Gold Reel Awards, Album Network's "Best Triple A Air Talent," five Philadelphia Magazine's "Best of Philly Awards," the Philadelphia Chapter of NARAS "Hero Award," the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award and numerous radio industry trade magazine citations. In 2006, Dye was named the "Triple A Air Personality of the Year" by Radio & Records.

Today, we welcome singer-songwriter, Grammy-nominated producer and record-company owner Rachel Faro, who visits World Cafe to discuss the Portuguese tradition of Fado.

Husband and wife Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst had their own careers going — his with the band The Films and hers solo. Then they started performing together, just the two of them, and found that their personal chemistry translated to their music together.

The South Carolina duo released its debut album, O' Be Joyful, last summer. Here, Trent and Hearst join us to talk about how that homemade record came to be — and, of course, perform live in the studio.

James Hunter fell in love with vintage R&B during his youth in England, with his grandmother's records providing a foundation. Hunter sang in workingman's clubs and got a break in the early '90s, when Van Morrison heard him singing and invited him on tour as a backing vocalist.

Jesse Dee grew up in Boston — far from the South, where the music he loves has its roots — and could never quite shake the '50s and '60s R&B he'd heard on the radio as a kid. He started writing his own material in high school because he wanted his music to be contemporary.

Dee's first album, Bittersweet Batch, came out in 2008; his latest is On My Mind/In My Heart. His love of singing shines through, in both our conversation and this live session.

The name Lady Lamb the Beekeeper came to singer-songwriter Aly Spaltro in a dream. When the Maine native emerged from the DVD-store basement where she'd been experimenting with music for several years, her friends responded positively. She soon moved to Brooklyn, where those original songs were re-worked for her debut album, Ripley Pine, released this past February.

Next: Escondido

Apr 15, 2013

It's not as if Escondido members Jessica Maros and Tyler James didn't have enough going on already. Maros is a thriving fashion designer in Nashville, Tenn., known for dressing Lady Antebellum and others. James has been a member of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and recently had one of his songs placed on the TV show Nashville.

It was 1975 when Emmylou Harris had to figure out how to make a solo album after her classic work as Gram Parsons' duet partner. Her record company told her to "get a hot band." So she got The Hot Band with James Burton on lead, as well as a newcomer, Rodney Crowell, on rhythm guitar and, more importantly, songwriting.

So you think you know country music? Our friend Michael Gray, curator at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tenn., will tell you what you need to know in just a few music-filled minutes. The Hall of Fame is right in downtown Nashville and is a must visit.

Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale have contributed to roots music to an immeasurable degree throughout their careers. As songwriters and players, both solo and together, they've led bands, worked as sidemen and written great songs.

Moon Taxi On World Cafe

Apr 10, 2013

You might be tempted to call World Cafe's Sense of Place: Nashville guest Moon Taxi a jam band — that is, if its instrumental excursions weren't so concise, carefully thought-out and frequently refined in the years it's spent touring.

The quintet formed at Belmont University in Nashville and released its debut, Melodica, in 2007. Moon Taxi's second studio album, Cabaret, came out last year. Here, the band performs an intricate live set and discusses what makes Nashville's independent music scene special.

Jack White's Third Man Records has quickly become a cultural force in Nashville. The Third Man complex is situated in an industrial section of downtown, where it houses a retail store, the Third Man studio, a mail-order business and a music venue.

In an attempt to discover the best new local music in Nashville, we headed to Grimey's Records, the mecca for indie music in town. It was opened by Mike Grimes in 1999, who also manages The Basement, the club in Grimey's basement. And the institution is still growing, recently opening a satellite store next to its already expanded store.

In this segment, co-founder Doyle Davis (who also hosts a local music show, "The Indie Underground Hour" on local station Lightning 100) picks his five best local bands.

For World Cafe's Sense of Place: Nashville edition, we knew we wanted to talk with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings to get their take on changes in the city over the last couple of decades. The country-folk singer-songwriters moved to Nashville in 1993 and have worked there ever since, recording at historic studios like RCA Studio B before buying the legendary Woodland Studios.

A young darling of Nashville's music scene, Caitlin Rose just released her second album, The Stand-In. Rose moved to Nashville when she was 7, but resisted country music at first because her parents worked in the industry. Indie-rock was more her thing; she first discovered Merle Haggard via a Mountain Goats record.

Leagues On World Cafe

Apr 8, 2013

Today's guest, Leagues, provides a perfect start to World Cafe's week-long visit to Nashville, because it perfectly encapsulates the change going on there. A new rock band, Leagues was formed by an amazing singer, Thad Cockrell, who'd been so disenchanted with his alt-country career that he was ready to leave the music business altogether.

Next: Luella And The Sun

Apr 8, 2013

For our Sense of Place: Nashville week, we just had to showcase Luella and the Sun, which has made major fans out of Grimey's Records' Doyle Davis, other bands like Moon Taxi and NPR Music's Ann Powers.

Jim James On World Cafe

Apr 5, 2013

There have been releases under the name Yim Yames and projects with New Multitudes and Monsters of Folk, but Regions of Light and Sound of God is the first album bearing Jim James' own name.

Today's Latin Roots co-host, Josh Norek, was given a hefty task: Define the broad swath of Argentine rock with just a few bands. But Norek, co-host of The Latin Alternative, is up to the occasion precisely because he spent time in Buenos Aires as a student during a vibrant period for music.

Soulful singer-songwriter Jessie Ware is far from the first vocalist to make the transition from backing vocals to center stage; Sheryl Crow once backed Michael Jackson, after all. But the Londoner has made the leap with tremendous success in her own right.

Night Beds On World Cafe

Apr 3, 2013

Night Beds is the work of Winston Yellen, who originally started making music in his hometown of Colorado Springs. But he traveled to Nashville to write the songs for Night Beds' debut album, Country Sleep, in a pre-Civil War cabin once owned by Johnny Cash.

When Kail Baxley was a kid growing up in Williston, S.C., James Brown used to challenge him to dance-offs. Baxley didn't win so much. He did better as an amateur boxer — his key to getting out of the small town and traveling to Europe and Africa.

Next: Waxahatchee

Apr 1, 2013

The world is catching up with Katie Crutchfield and Waxahatchee, and with good reason. Her shows at SXSW, including an NPR showcase, were greeted rapturously. Her new album, Cerulean Salt, is a sonic leap forward from her debut, American Weekend, which was recorded in a bedroom in Alabama.

Sitting down with Beach House is a bit like listening to the band's music. No matter how many times we feature Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, they impress with their relaxed complexity and refreshing insight into how music can work.

Next: The Lions

Jan 21, 2013

In 2007, a dozen or so reggae and soul artists met in Los Angeles and eventually formed The Lions. Heavily inspired by the culture surrounding Jamaican music both old and new, the group is deeply rooted in soul, but also has a rough edge reminiscent of The Upsetters or The Rockers Band.

Members Deston Berry, Alex Désert and Malik Moore handle lead vocals, while Black Shakespeare produces the backing tracks. Guitarist Dan Ubick and bassist Dave Wilder also contribute, along with a mix of musicians who've played with Big Daddy Kane, De La Soul and Raphael Saadiq.

Lucero On World Cafe

Jan 16, 2013

In this "Sense of Place" installment, we meet the blue-collar Memphis rock band Lucero, which performs a stripped-down session in Ardent Studio A, where they worked on their album 1372 Overton Park.

In the beginning, Lucero was all about combining a punk aesthetic with Tom Waits' lyrical sensibility. Over the years, the Memphis sound has crept into the band's music, including a horn section on its last two albums.

Our "Sense of Place" visit to Memphis, Tenn., moves away from soul music to the place where some of the seminal American power-pop records were created. Ardent Studios is where the Memphis band Big Star made three albums that helped define the genre.

Graceland On World Cafe

Jan 15, 2013

In this installment of "Sense of Place: Memphis," we pay a visit to Graceland, Elvis Presley's storied estate. We hear from Kevin Kern, PR director for Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc., and Elvis' daughter Lisa Marie Presley.

Kern gives us a personal tour of The King's estate, shares how Graceland was really a home to the singer, explains why it might seem small to us today, and offers up a few facts listeners might not know.

As part of World Cafe's "Sense of Place" series on Memphis, Tenn., we've dug up archival interviews with two legendary Stax Records performers: guitarist Steve Cropper and organist Booker T. Jones, both of Booker T. & The M.G.'s.

Isaac Hayes On World Cafe

Jan 14, 2013

As part of our "Sense of Place" series on Memphis, we dug into the World Cafe archives and pulled out a 2003 interview with Stax Records' best-selling artist, the late Isaac Hayes.

Before Hayes became known for the theme to Shaft, he was an in-house songwriter and producer for Stax; along with David Porter, he wrote the iconic hit "Soul Man" for Sam & Dave.

Here, host David Dye speaks with Hayes about his beginnings at Stax, his work with Booker T. Jones and the Memphis scene in general, which he called "wonderfully incestuous."

Soul music, barbeque and Elvis Presley. World Cafe is spending this week getting the vibe of Memphis, Tenn., a city that — like New Orleans — has had an undeniable influence on all of American culture. Our "Sense of Place: Memphis" radio journey takes us to the five major studios where much of the music that came out of radios from the '50s to the '70s was made.

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